Hank Bates focuses his practice on representing individuals, small businesses, public interest groups and governmental entities in litigation to combat consumer fraud, protect data privacy, guard employee rights, clean up pollution and preserve the environment.
Hank has worked to protect consumers in a variety of settings. Recently, Hank successfully prosecuted Williams, et al, v. State Farm, 4:11-cv-00749-KGB (E.D. AR), alleging State Farm illegally took a portion of its insureds’ settlements with third parties. After over six years of litigation, this case settled in June 2018, resulting in a $21.7 million common fund with 7,630 Arkansans receiving 100% recovery of the improperly taken funds plus 6 percent interest without having to file a claim or sign any release. Hank also served as co-lead counsel in Ebarle, et al. v. LifeLock, Inc., 3:15-cv-00258 (N.D. Cal.), a class action on behalf of customers of the identity theft protection service, arising from claims that LifeLock delivered false statements about its services and failed to alert customers on a timely basis of potential identity theft. A nationwide settlement of $81 million was approved in September 2016.
Hank also served as counsel in Wayne Miner et al. v. Philip Morris USA Inc., Circuit Court of Pulaski County, Arkansas, Case No. 60CV-03-4661, a class action brought on behalf of Arkansas smokers over claims that the defendant misrepresented the safety of its “light” cigarette products, which settled in 2016 for $45 million.
Hank is at the forefront of data privacy and data security litigation. In the data privacy context, he served as court-appointed class counsel in Matera, et al. v. Google, Inc., 5:15-cv-04062-LHK, securing a class action settlement in 2018 requiring Google to stop using content derived from email transmissions for user profiling and targeted advertising, and also served as court-appointed class counsel in Campbell, et al. v. Facebook, Inc., 4:13-cv-05996-PJH (N.D. Cal.), securing a settlement in 2017 requiring disclosures of and limitations on Facebook’s interception and use of private message content. He currently serves as co-lead counsel in three related actions challenging 24 defendants’ surreptitious tracking, profiling and targeting of tens of millions of children for commercial exploitation while they play some of the most popular, child-directed gaming apps.
Hank has been involved in litigation over some of the largest consumer data breaches in history, serving as counsel for the lead financial institution plaintiff in In re: Target Corporation Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, 0:14-cmd-02522-PAM-JJK (D. Minn.), which recovered $39.4 million for the class of financial institutions, and serving on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in In re: The Home Depot, Inc., Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, 1:14-md-02583-TWT (N.D. Ga.), which recently settled for $25 million for the class of financial institutions. In February 2018, Hank was appointed by the court to the Financial Institutions Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the Equifax, Inc. Customer Data Breach Litigation.
In the environmental context, Hank has represented numerous communities across America where neighboring industries polluted their air and tainted their groundwater. These cases have resulted in multi-million-dollar recoveries for the residents of these communities as well as agreements and court orders requiring remediation of contamination and compliance with the environmental laws in the future. For example, as co-lead counsel for the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma, Hank secured an $11.5 million settlement from Asarco, LLC for spoiling the Tribe’s historic reservation with lead and zinc mining waste, in addition to confidential settlements from four other mining companies. Hank also has represented successfully numerous farmers in cases involving crop damage by defective pesticides. In addition, he has represented conservation groups in California and Arkansas to protect our waterways from pollution, free-flowing stream from dams, and endangered species from loss of critical habitat.
Hank’s employment litigation includes acting as court-appointed class counsel in a nationwide race discrimination class action on behalf of African-American truck drivers against Wal-Mart that provided $17.5 million in recovery, significant changes to Wal-Mart’s hiring policies and four years of court supervision of the settlement terms requiring improved hiring practices.
In his community, Hank currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, and on the Advisory Board for the Arkansas Journal of Social Change and Public Service. He served as an inaugural board member of the Arkansas Citizens First Congress and has been honored as Sierran of the Year by the Arkansas Chapter of the Sierra Club, Civil Rights Activist of the Year by the Arkansas Public Policy Panel, and has received the Angel Award from Treatment Homes, Inc., which provides training for therapeutic foster care parents.
Hank is active in the bar, currently serving as Arkansas State Coordinator for Public Justice. In the past he has served as the Chairman of the Environmental Law Section of the Arkansas Bar Association and as Vice-Chairman of the American Bar Association’s Committee on Pesticides, Chemical Regulation, and Right-to-Know.
Hank is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and as a “Super Lawyer” (among the top 5 percent of lawyers in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee) by Mid-South Super Lawyers Magazine.
Vanderbilt University School of Law (J.D., 1992, Andrew Ewing Scholarship; Order of the Coif; Articles Editor, Vanderbilt Law Review); Harvard University (B.A. 1987, National Merit Scholarship); University of Manchester, Manchester, Great Britain (1987-88, Rotary International Fellowship).
Hon. Danny J. Boggs, U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit, 1992-93.
Licensed in California and Arkansas; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Circuits; U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas; U.S. District Court for the Eastern, Northern and Central Districts of California; U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois; U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado; and the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
California Bar Association; Arkansas Bar Association; Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association; American Association for Justice; Public Justice.
“Out of Focus: The Misapplication of Equitable Remedies in the Nontraditional Arena of School Desegregation,” 44 Vanderbilt Law Review 1315, 1991; Symposium Editor and author of the Introduction for the 1992 Symposium Issue of the Review, “A Reevaluation of the Canons of Statutory Interpretation,” 45 Vanderbilt Law Review No. 3, 1992.